New Canaan boys hockey team topples Westhill, stays perfect
Published 6:35 pm, Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Tried and tested after a challenging early season schedule, the New Canaan High School boys' hockey team opened its FCIAC campaign by outplaying, outshooting, and outscoring the Westhill Vikings on Monday night at the Darien Ice Rink. While the 5-1 victory kept their record perfect in tact, it certainly didn't keep their coach happy.
"The best I could say... it's a W. We played a bad game but we won," Rams coach Bo Hickey said after the game.
Things started well for the Rams (7-0) with PT Prins attacking the net just 43 seconds into the game. The sophomore forward ripped one past Viking's goalie Zack Phillipson to give New Canaan a 1-0 lead. Just over 3 minutes later, Reed Harper took a beautiful centering pass from Henry Corcoran and rifled one by Phillipson, going top shelf to give the Rams a quick, 2-0 advantage. It was Harpers 9th goal of the season.
The Rams could have blown the game open in the first, but Phillipson made several big saves to keep New Canaan off the board the rest of the period.
"He made some nice saves," coach Hickey said of Phillipson. "We were putting some pressure on him. We have some professional shooters. He had a good night."
Phillipson kept the Rams at bay for most of the second period until Jake Granito beat him at the 5:31 mark. Granito took a pass from Thomas Kreiger near center ice, then from just inside the blue line, he unloaded a slap shot that beat Phillipson low and to the stick side, giving the Rams a commanding 3-0 lead.
"I knew to go low because Phillipson wasn't so good down there. I knew he was good up top with the blocker. I just shot it and it hit the pipe and went in," Granito said about his first goal of the season.
After Granito's goal, the action between the Rams and Vikings (3-2) turned chippy, with the teams combining for 12 penalties in the period. David Crandall took a hard hit from a Viking's player and the senior was slow to get up. He apparently chipped a tooth and he wasn't happy about it, nor did he think the hit was necessary. Crandall slammed his stick against the boards, drawing a 10-minute misconduct.
When Crandall continued to argue, the referee hit him with a game misconduct. The Rams drew nine penalties on the night, drawing the wrath of their coach.
"I get upset with retaliatory penalties. Those are selfish penalties. They just have to learn to hold their water. You'll see the guy again and get him legally,'' Hickey said.
The defending FCIAC champs and goalie Tim Nowacki lost their shutout in the third period when Ian Gibbs beat Nowacki unassisted to the short side at the 4:56 mark. Nowacki wasn't tested often, but the sophomore netminder did stop 13 shots.
Any thoughts of a Vikings comeback were squelched a minute later when Prins netted his second goal of the game, beating Phillipson high to give the Rams a 4-1 advantage. Charlie Corcoran finished off the scoring, taking a pass from his brother, Henry, beating Phillipson to make it a 5-1 final. The Rams outshot the Vikings 43-14 while notching their first FCIAC win of the season.
"It was good to see PT Prins get a couple of goals. Good to see Jake Granito get a goal. Guys that work hard all the time. We do have some scoring depth. Our second, third and fourth lines all had goals tonight," coach Hickey said.
The undefeated Rams will put perfection on the line Saturday night when they take on Trinity Catholic (0-7) at the Darien Ice Rink.